I took a deep breath and stepped off the tour bus which had been my haven during the past week. When my feet hit the sidewalk I was in the true Costa Rica. I was about to spend the next week living with a family who only knew the words hello in English. I was incredibly intimidated because I had only had two years of Spanish class. Now, here I was plunging head first into a full on Spanish immersion program.
Once I looked into the caring eyes of my host family I knew that everything would be alright. I waved goodbye to all of my friends and took my first step to one of the most influential experiences in my life. My host family lived about two miles uphill away from the town of Santa Cruz. We had a cozy house that fit my host mom, dad, two brothers and baby sister.
The people I lived with welcomed me to their home with such open arms. I played soccer with the little boys, stopped the baby from crying, made tortillas with the mom and even went to work with my host dad. The extended family was also incredible my host cousin took me to an aerobics class every night and I learned how to milk a cow with my host grandma. I learned so much Spanish and had so many great experiences.
My host family didn’t have much money and I have the biggest sweet tooth so every day I would walk the two long miles in the Costa Rican heat to get ice cream. My host mom was shocked that I would walk all that way by myself. The experience of walking into town was absolutely liberating. I felt free and I was on my own. I learned so much about myself during those half an hour walks. I cannot even begin to describe exploring another countries terrain.
My family would take me on amazing adventures. My family had lots of land. They had all these great trails over creeks and in the woods. I would explore for hours. By far the most breathtaking experience ever was when I climbed the giant tree. My host dad had put a rope ladder inside of a colossal tree and I climbed up all 200 feet of it. When I reached the top and looked out onto the beautiful jungle I was overcome by a sense of accomplishment and awe.
I was so thrilled when I found out that Costa Rica is a huge soccer community. My town had a huge indoor soccer facility that virtually the whole town would play at. We had giant pickup soccer games with all ages playing from six to nineteen. I hate to admit it but some of the six year olds were better than me! It was a great way to get better at a sport I love playing. I also learned tons of Spanish terms just by participating in a so to speak way of life.
Overall the two weeks I spent in Costa Rica, whether it be touring or in my family, was the most fun I have ever had. I learned about another culture, a new language, tons about my independence and got to see some of the most gorgeous landscape in the world. I would travel to Costa Rica again in a heartbeat and I will hopefully be returning again soon.
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